Choosing the right drone

When buying a drone, it's important to choose the right one for you. That means selecting a drone that is safe enough to do what you want to do with it. We developed a Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) Safety Assurance rating system to help with this.

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About the RPAS Safety Assurance

The RPAS Safety Assurance tells users the safety limits of the drone they are using. You must operate your drone within the limits outlined in the RPAS Safety Assurance declared by the drone manufacturer. Manufacturers can self-declare to Transport Canada that specific models of drones meet the requirements for advanced operations.

Drone safety requirements for basic operations

Basic operations pose less of a risk to people and aircraft. To conduct basic operations your drone does not need to have an RPAS Safety Assurance.

Drone safety requirements for advanced operations

Advanced operations pose a higher risk to people and aircraft. They include operations near people, over people and in controlled airspace.

A drone must meet the relevant RPAS Safety Assurance requirements to conduct advanced operations. If a drone does not meet the requirements, then the rules for basic operations apply instead. For example, flying over bystanders is an advanced operation. A drone that does not meet the relevant RPAS Safety Assurance requirements can still be flown, but not over bystanders.

A drone may be eligible for some advanced operations but not others. For example, a drone may be allowed to operate at a horizontal distance less than 30 metres (100 feet) from bystanders but not over them. Meeting the RPAS Safety Assurance for one advanced operation does not make the drone fit for all of them.

Getting your drone accepted for advanced operations

If you build or modify drones, you can submit a drone safety assurance declaration to Transport Canada identifying the capabilities of the system.

Drones eligible for advanced operations

The table below lists drone manufacturers and models that are eligible for certain advanced operations.

Drones are listed only if they have an RPAS Safety Assurance declaration submitted by their manufacturer. If your drone isn’t listed, the manufacturer may have yet to submit the declaration or the declaration is yet to be reviewed. You’ll be issued a new registration certificate if the declaration is submitted. Contact your drone’s manufacturer to ask if a declaration will be submitted.

Drones that are eligible for use with a Compliant UAV Operator Special Flight Operating Certificate under the current rules will be eligible for advanced operations in controlled airspace after June 1.

Manufacturers or modifiers of these drones can submit an RPAS Safety Assurance declaration stating that the drones are eligible to operate over people.

Categories of advanced operations:

  • Controlled airspace - operations in which the drone will fly within the airspace controlled by air traffic control (Class A-F)
  • Near people - operations in which the drone will fly within 30 metres (100 feet) and 5 metres (16.4 feet) of any person not associated with the operation
  • Over people - operations in which the drone will fly within 5 metres (16.4 feet) or directly over any person not associated with the operation
Manufacturer name Model Type Manufacturer RPAS safety assurance
Controlled airspace Near people Over people

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